Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Cay Evans, LSU Shreveport
In the early 1990s, a call for training in distance education was sent out to our campus. I was curious about online classes and teaching and did not know what the research said about the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of online classes. I wanted to learn and be able to make an educated decision on the issue so I applied to be a part of this training.
The training was provided by the Board of Regents and was the statewide attempt to train college faculty in the area of distance education (the term at that time). I was selected to be a part of the Distance Education Certificate Program of the Louisiana Consortium for the Advancement of Distance Education (LaCADE). The training lasted 6 months and we attended face to face meetings as well as completed online learning modules. I have been involved in teaching online courses since this time.
What was your initial reaction when you found out you would be teaching online?
I had an open mind and was willing to try teaching online. I was excited about trying a new method of teaching.
Describe the biggest obstacle in teaching online.
Obstacle, perhaps, is too intense of a descriptor, but giving feedback tops a concern. Instead of immediate feedback and clarification in a face to face class, my online class feedback may take several days to finally accomplish.
Describe the biggest advantage to teaching online.
The biggest advantages are to the students. Online classes provide convenience and flexibility.
What tips do you have to new online instructors?
Be very specific in your directions to your students about assignments and due dates.
Do not make changes to assignments or due dates once class has started unless there was a major error originally.
Respond to students emails and posted questions about assignments immediately or at the least within 24 hours.
Provide rubrics for grading so students will know what you are looking for in their assignments.
What is the #1 best practice you apply to your online course?
Organization is my best practice. And a part of this organization includes clearly stated expectations in assignments and detailed rubrics for grading along with quick response time to student questions and grading of assignments.